Want your meeting to go well? Want to get that much needed approval from your client in that meeting? Want the participants at your workshop to be in a good mood? Want your wedding reception to be remembered?
You got it. Serve good food.
To understand how food can make you happy, it’s important to understand how the brain regulates mood. The brain uses neurotransmitters as communication signals to communicate with the rest of your body and to issue its commands. Typically, serotonin is the neurotransmitter most linked to happiness. Foods that aid serotonin production include fish, chicken, cheese, spinach and bananas.
While some foods have been proven to physically affect your brain chemistry, others make us feel good just by eating them. These are Comfort Foods.
Psychological studies have turned up evidence that the comfort foods we crave are actually artifacts from our pasts. We all have memories of happier times, and by eating foods that remind us of those times, we symbolically consume that past happiness. Comfort foods can also be linked to specific people in our lives: Eating a specific food that a loved one favored can produce happy thoughts by triggering fond memories or associations of that person. This makes comfort foods fairly unique to each individual. If your childhood birthday parties represented the pinnacle of happiness for you, you’d likely crave birthday cake or some variation of the dessert when you’re feeling the blues.
Although comfort foods (or the events attached to them) vary from person to person, the foods we associate with comforting or happy emotions vary by gender, as well. A 2005 Cornell University survey of 277 men and women found that females tend to seek comfort in sweet and sugary foods like ice cream, while males prefer savory comfort foods like steak.
So know the food that leads to happiness and know the likes of whom you are serving to. Foods’ the reason for Laughing Buddha’s happiness and could well be the reason for your happiness too.
Illustration by Mayur Tekchandaney